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UN assumptions biased presumptions

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

25 November 2005

UN assumptions biased presumptions

National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee is strongly rejecting the presumptions of UN Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen in his preliminary statement on the rights of Maori in New Zealand.

"New Zealanders don't need to be told by the UN what it means to be a Kiwi. Fair-minded Kiwis will reject these statements outright, because they know them to be untrue.

"Mr Stavenhagen has been in the country for only nine days so how can he possibly assume to have thoroughly examined 160 years of New Zealand history?

"How many ordinary New Zealanders did Mr Stavenhagen talk to before making his ill-informed conclusions?

"His short, two-and-a-half page statement, released today, is full of unsubstantiated assertions and loaded language.

"Mr Stavenhagen describes Maori sovereignty as one of several 'pressing human rights issues'. The overwhelming majority of New Zealanders will reject this.

"National supports the quick settlement of historic Treaty of Waitangi claims, but we won't accept two standards of citizenship in our country. That is no way forward for a modern 21st century democracy.

"Quite why the Government decided to invite this man to examine the relationship between Maori and Pakeha in New Zealand is still a mystery to us.

"Our advice to Labour is that, noting Mr Stavenhagen is not planning to release his full report until April, they should do themselves and race relations in New Zealand a favour by telling him not to bother writing it," says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS

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